Changing Spousal Support Amounts - Divorce Attorney | Burns Law

Changing the Amount of Spousal Support

You May be Able to Change the Amount of Alimony you are Currently Receiving

If you’re going through a divorce and you and your ex-spouse have significantly different incomes, you will likely need to contact a legal professional. Alimony, or spousal support, is a recurring payment made to ensure that the lower-income spouse can maintain the same lifestyle post-divorce. These matters are settled in court, and a good spousal support adjustment lawyer in Los Angeles like those at the Law Offices of Nigel Burns will make sure you have a strong case. 

The outcome of the divorce judge’s decision is typically one of four: 

  • Temporary Spousal Support - This is a regular payment made by one spouse to another while the divorce is still being processed. Temporary spousal support lasts until the divorce is settled and permanent spousal support, if any, is granted. 
  • Permanent Spousal Support (also known as long-term support) - This amount is what people think of when they think of alimony. A lower-earning partner receives a monthly amount from the higher-earning partner so that they can maintain a lifestyle reasonably comparable to the standard of living that was established during the marriage. 
  • Rehabilitative Alimony - This is granted when one spouse had little to no income during the marriage. It gives them time to earn an education and/or find a job to give them a substantial income.
  • Reimbursement Alimony - This is the rarest kind of spousal support, and it’s not available in all states. This occurs when one spouse “reimburses” the other for paying for something significant, like a college degree.

Changing the Amount of Alimony

While you may not be satisfied with the amount of alimony determined during your divorce, it’s possible to change the payment amount in the future, even if it’s permanent spousal support.

During the court hearing for the initial alimony, your lawyer needs to ensure that there’s a clause stating that the alimony amount can be changed in the future. The judge will decide under what circumstances the alimony after divorce can be modified, so make sure to check your divorce agreement if you decide to go about changing the agreed-upon amount. Your agreement can also state that alimony changes can only be made under certain circumstances. A few examples are listed below:  

  • If both ex-spouses agree to change the alimony amount
  • If either spouse’s income significantly changes
  • If one spouse becomes disabled and cannot work
  • If either spouse experiences a cost of living increase

There are also several clauses that can be inserted into your alimony agreement that will adjust the amount paid automatically. A Cost of Living Adjustment means that the amount of spousal support will increase at a rate comparable to the area’s annual cost of living. An Escalator Clause will give the recipient of alimony an automatic increase in payment amount following a raise or promotion at the ex-spouse’s job.

Even if you do not have a monetary alteration clause in your agreement, it’s not unusual for courts to grant a temporary change in alimony due to temporary hardship. For example, if you are laid off, it’s possible to lower alimony payments until you can find another job. 

Contacting an Attorney

Spousal support amounts are largely dependent on each spouse’s net income, monthly expenses, child custody, and who got to keep the house

The downturn in the economy has been hard on everyone. You don’t need to feel embarrassed about requesting to increase your monthly alimony amount or requesting to lower the amount you are already paying. 

The best way to do this is to contact our lawyers for alimony in Los Angeles for help. We can first get a temporary adjustment and then work on something that fits both of your needs in the long run. Contact us to learn more about hiring our alimony negotiation services. 

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